Introducing is a feature on Box To Box looking at a handpicked selection of magazines, fanzines, websites, blogs, teams, projects and individuals who produce great quality content on football and football culture.
In Bed With Maradona will be a familiar name to most you, they have been producing excellent footballing content since 2010. They are perhaps best known for the brilliant #IBWM100, which selects the 100 best young players from around the globe each year.
Although my personal highlight is the fantastic assignment feature, which delves into the footballing and cultural identity of a particular city via a handful of quality and informative articles. They recently finished their feature on Buenos Aires which is unsurprisingly great and have previously run similarly brilliant features on Sheffield and Marseille.
Anyway, we were fortunate enough to speak to the website’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Salter, about their success and the future of IBWM.
To someone who hasn’t heard of it, how would you describe In Bed With Maradona in one sentence?
Scott Salter: A catalogue of enigmatic football stories that delve deep under the surface and into the true culture of the game.
What is the story behind the creation of the project?
SS: IBWM was originally founded over 10 years ago by Jeff Livingstone. Originally, it was just going to be a diary following Diego Maradona, who was at that point managing Argentina in the 2010 World Cup, but the site got a good following and there was a gap for world football.
What is the unique selling point of your project?
SS: I’d say the #IBWM100. Each year, we profile the 100 young players who we think will have the biggest impact that year. It’s hugely popular and many anticipate its release every year. There are a few people who have copied the idea, but they don’t get the in-depth, expert insight that we do. We spend an age researching and speaking to experts in the far corners of the world.
Out of everything you have done through the website so far, what are you most proud of/what has been your most enjoyable moment?
SS: For me personally, it’s been the two assignments I’ve run since being at the helm of IBWM. The first was on Marseille and the second on Buenos Aires. Both gave a unique insight into these cities and were hugely popular.
What next for IBWM?
SS: It’s an interesting time for football journalism/blogging as a whole. Technology has seen fans wanting instant access, which is something sites like our struggle to give. We all work full-time, have real lives, families etc. IBWM is a hobby for us, really. We’re not professionals and we do it in our spare time. I think people struggle to realise that sometimes. There’s also been an interesting shift to old-school fanzines and magazines, though. The likes of Mundial and Glory have shown how much football fans still value quality print magazines. For us, it’s always been about quality, and we continue to look at ways in which we can maintain that quality, satisfy the needs of those who read IBWM but also to make it manageable for our staff who are busy with real life commitments.
Do you remember what made you first fall in love with football, could you pinpoint it to a single moment?
SS: There’s two things, really. I grew up in Cardiff and from a very young age, my Dad started taking me to Cardiff City matches. Going down to Ninian Park, which was hardly the most family-friendly stadium back then, from the age of 4 or something stupid like that completely swept me away. The football wasn’t great – we were in what was Division 3 back then – but the atmosphere and passion of the fans drew me in straight away.
Out of all the football websites, magazines, podcasts, projects out there, what are your personal favourites?
SS: There’s so many! I obviously mentioned Mundial and Glory earlier and I love both of them. The former quenches a real thirst for football culture, whilst the latter is just a real joy. A few other magazine claim to provide expert insight into various nations, but nobody quite does it like Glory. The extent in which they go to in order to immerse themselves in the footballing landscapes of the countries their profiling is so impressive. When you couple that with the beautiful design and aesthetics, you’ve got the best-looking mag in the game.
If someone wanted to collaborate with you at IBWM, how would you suggest they went about it?
SS: Honestly, just drop us a line. We’re always open to having a chat. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and take it from there.
- Maintain quality. When I first started a blog called The Football Thesis (which then became Penalty Magazine) I concentrated too much on the need to get content out. I’d churn out five okay articles in a week instead of a single good one. That was a mistake – and one I feel too many make. Quality should always be top of the list.
- Write for yourself. Don’t write for other people, for the attention, for the clicks or for the money. You’ll soon lose interest in what you’re doing. Write for yourself, in your own style and put your heart and soul into it. It’ll mean a lot more to you that way.